Prof. Isaac Adewole, Nigeria’s minister of health, has called on state governments to intensify partnership with the federal government in order to combat Lassa fever outbreak in the country.
Adewole made the appeal at an emergency meeting of the National Council on Health ( NCH ), organised by the Federal Ministry of Health in Abuja.
He pointed out that the federal government had not got the commensurate co-operation from the states in the fight against the epidemic.
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“The question people often ask is, ‘did we prepare for this outbreak?’ The answer is yes, but somewhere along the line, we did not get the commensurate co-operation from the states.
“This is because we tend to assume that all must happen in Abuja. The answer is no. In fact, much will happen at the state governments’ level and that is why we need a partnership.
“We will also talk more about this when we will be talking about a functional partnership,” the minister said.
Adewole advised each state to have an operation centre to cater for public health challenges.
“We need to look at operation centre, and what we want is situation where at the states’ level we will recreate these centres,” the minister said.
Adewole also urged state commissioners for health to brief their governors on public health challenges every week.
“We are all in this together and we need to mobilise support towards ending the spate of outbreaks, particularly Lassa fever.
“The National Centre for Disease Control ( NCDC ) and tertiary hospitals has done remarkably well.
“But we need to do more by working with them. I am challenging all state commissioners to take this as a challenge.
“I want each commissioner to talk to me once, at least, once in a week about the state of public health in his or her state,” he said.
Besides, the minister enjoined them to improve their response and investment in prevention and control of diseases.